This pastry takes me right back to french patisseries where fresh pastry is made daily.
Crunchy and sweet caramelised sugar on the outside, soft, doughy and sweet, flaky layers of butter and sugar on the inside.
And it doesn’t stop here. Then comes the orange blossom water flavor, hints of cardamom in the background and crunchy, caramelised pistachios. Delicious and worth all the time spent.
A kouign amann (pronounced “kwee-amahn”) is a round crusty pastry that originated in Brittany in roughly 1860. It is made with a bread dough that is laminated (think of a croissant or puff pastry) and then sprinkled with sugar before being cut into squares and baked in muffin tins.
This is a part of the daring kitchen challenge for April. It’s my first challenge participating in it and making this really was a challenge for me because I rarely work with this kind of dough, I’m more of a cake person but that’s a reason more to try it out!
The host of this challenge provided us with a basic recipe but we can add some spins of our own. A few days before I found out about what we are making I ate some indian dessert that had really interesting flavor so I asked the chef what was in it and he said cardamom and that’s all I found out. But on the way home I was thinking about the flavor, yes, I could sense a bit of cardamom but there was something else there. And so I decided it was rose water whether it really was or not. Since then I wanted to incorporate those flavors to some dessert but I haven’t given much thought to what dessert exactly, when I found out about the challenge being kouign-amann it just clicked together. I don’t really know how basic kouign-amann tastes because I’ve never eaten it before but I do know that – orange blossom water, cardamom and pistachios work amazing in this pastry. My second flavor choice would be cinnamon sugar but that’s for another time.
The whole process takes a bit of time because we are working with yeast and to get those beautiful layers we have to roll, fold and chill three times so I suggest making this on a weekend maybe but as I said, it’s worth it.
315 g strong plain flour + extra for dusting
5 g instant yeast
1 tsp salt
200 ml warm water
25 g melted butter
250 g cold butter in a block
100 g caster sugar sugar + extra (I used 80 g)
4 tsp orange blossom water
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
15 g pistachios
Put the flour into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook (I guess you could do it by hand but that’s a LOT of work). Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and salt to the other. Add water, orange blossom water and melted butter and mix on a slow speed for two minutes, then on a medium speed for six minutes.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Put into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for an hour.
Just before your dough has risen sandwich the butter between two sheets of grease-proof paper (parchment paper) and bash with a rolling pin, then roll out to a 14 cm / 5½” square and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20 cm / 8” square. Place the butter in the center of the dough diagonally, so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter to enclose like an envelope. Roll the dough into a 45 x 15 cm / 18 x 6” rectangle. Fold the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over. You will now have a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This completes one turn.
Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.
Mix 180 g of sugar with cardamom powder. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil or butter and then sprinkle some of your cardamom sugar in all of the muffin tins, distribute evenly. Roll the dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with 100 g of cardamom sugar and fold into thirds again. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large
40 x 30 cm / 16 x 12” rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with additional cardamom sugar (leave a little for some final sprinkling) and cut the dough into 12 squares.
Gather the dough squares up by their four corners and place in the muffin tins, pulling the four corners towards the centre of the muffin tin, so that it gathers up like a four-leaf clover. Roughly chop pistachios and place them on the top of each kouign-amann. Sprinkle with the rest of cardamom sugar and leave to rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for 30 minutes until slightly puffed up.
Preheat oven to 220C/200C(fan)/425F/Gas 7. Bake the pastries for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Be careful not to burn yourself on the caramelised sugar, but don’t leave them to cool for too long, or the caramelised sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin.
These are the best on the first day they are baked. Keep in an airtight container. I like to warm them up in the oven or microwave before eating.
A link to the daring kitchen website: http://thedaringkitchen.com
Recipe adapted from: BBC food